SU Men’s Soccer Ready for Rough Run
Syracuse Men’s Soccer is already off to a strong start to their season. A 4-3-1 record has them solidly in contention for the ACC Tournament, as well as a potential NCAA Tournament bid. However, the next week will undoubtedly be the most pivotal stretch of their season. Over a seven-day span starting this Saturday, the Orange will take on three extremely tough opponents. First, they get #6 Duke at home in a crucial battle for ACC positioning. Then, 5-1-1 Vermont will visit Central New York next Tuesday for a crack at the Orange. Finally, Syracuse will head south to take on #15 Pittsburgh in a Friday night showdown.
“When you play good teams, you can’t pick and choose what you bring,” Head Coach Ian McIntyre says. “The caliber of teams that we’re playing against, we’ve got to bring our A-game, and anything less than our best will make life really difficult for us.”
A tough schedule has both pros and cons for the Orange, depending on how they fare. Win some games, and they can boast a strong resume to the NCAA Tournament selection committee. Any other result and they could be watching the postseason from home.
“We just take it day by day,” defender Olu Oyegunie says. “Each game is important. Midweek games are important for [the] NCAA Tournament; they’re almost as important as the ACC games as well.”
Syracuse has fared well so far this season in their midweek contests, sporting a 3-01 record when playing between Monday and Thursday, as opposed to 1-3 clip-on weekends. While the quality of competition usually varies between these contests, the team doesn’t prepare any differently based on the opponent.
“We’ll just go over video, set pieces, all the things that the other team [has] to offer,” midfielder Amferny Sinclair says. “We focus a lot on what we can do to hurt the other team.”
What the other teams are able to do is just as important to the Orange’s prospects of victory, though. Duke is second in the country in goals against average, allowing just one opposing goal through six games. Vermont sits close behind them, having given up just four goals through seven games of their own. Pitt lands on the opposite end of the scoring spectrum, as they are among the top teams nationally in goals scored per game with 17 total goals through seven games. So while Syracuse has shown scoring prowess and kept multiple clean sheets, they may struggle to measure up to some of the country’s top teams in those regards.
Syracuse faces a daunting slate of games over the next week. But if they can come out the other side with a couple wins? Look out for the Orange, as they may be playing deeper into the season than originally anticipated.
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